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BY ANNA L. WALLS
When Slave Master Patro first laid eyes on the child’s ice-blue eyes, he knew he would be the most sought-after slave on the market. The fact that he didn’t seem to be able to talk was a minor frustration.
Canis couldn’t tolerate the collar though. It not only contained his body, it strangled his soul. When this turmoil turned dangerous, Patro agreed to free the boy, but there were conditions, conditions Canis couldn’t hope to meet, not if he wanted to be truly free.
This man was quite gentle, almost as gentle as Gem. He took great care of Canis’s bruises. He helped Canis take his clothes off and laid them aside.
“Well, look at you; you can’t be more than five. How old are you?” When Canis didn’t answer, he went ahead with the bath. He quickly dipped water from the river and soaped him down. The late day was still warm and the man found a spot of sunlight, but being wet was still really cold.
When Canis’s body was washed, the man wrapped Canis’s tunic around his shoulders and had him bend over so he could wash his hair. When he was satisfied, he helped Canis dress again and then they went back to the camp. This whole ordeal left Canis baffled. His experience with baths was now two, and they couldn’t possibly have been more different, one from the other. As he thought on it, he figured he didn’t really like water much; it was fine for drinking – and maybe washing some, but so much as was in the river – it made him uneasy, almost as if it might reach out and smother him.
When they returned to camp, they found it already set up and organized. As soon as he was within reach, Gem went to work on his matted hair again. She’d only just started when Patro came up to them.
If Canis had been less cold and more agile, he’d have moved out of his easy reach. As it was, Patro merely rested his big hand on his forehead. “Fevered,” was all he said. He shook his head and handed Gem a can of cream. “Work this into his hair, it should loosen the matting some. We might have to cut some of that out, though.” Then he lifted Canis’s chin so he was forced to look him in the face. “Those are the most remarkable eyes I’ve ever seen. Drink a lot of water, boy. I want you to finish that jar before you sleep.” He brushed Canis’s cheek. “You’ll make someone a fine collector’s item when you grow up.”
I grew up a rancher’s daughter hoping to inherit the ranch and run a riding school for city kids. However, my brother bought the ranch from our parents in order to avoid an inheritance tax and I ended up joining the army, marrying my fisherman husband, and moving to the wilderness of Alaska where I raised two wonderful boys. One of them gave me an old laptop computer and now I’m a published author. Go figure.
Links to Anna’s website, blog, books, etc.
Purchase any of Anna’s books through her website or from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Anna-L.-Walls/e/B002E1FOBIor Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AuthorAnnaWalls
Thanks, Anna, for sharing your book with us!
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